Chapter 11 • EPILOGUE

Charlie stood at the board in his office, Dry Erase marker flying across it.

The first few difficult days, then weeks, had passed. Time — as it is wont to do — marched on. After a few days he was joining his father again regularly for meals. Then, he began sleeping in his own room. Not just spending the night there — actually sleeping. Now, he was able to truly work again, really put his mind into the math.… He wasn't exactly enjoying any of it, but he realized that every step was significant, and he waited sadly and patiently for things to progress.

Larry stood in the doorway and studied his friend. Charlie had never shared whatever had brought him to his apartment in such despair a few weeks ago, and he knew from Megan that Don had not explained his sudden absence from work, either. Now both were back at their jobs. Megan said that Don seemed a little quiet, but peaceful, and his mind was back where it should be. Charlie's mind seemed fully present again as well, and Larry could see the efforts he was making to regain his life. Still, there was an underlying, lingering despondency that tore at Larry's own heart and happiness. He fingered the tickets in his hand.

"Charles."

Charlie didn't turn from the board. He recognized his friend's voice. "Hey, Larry."

"Charles, I have a dilemma."

Charlie smiled a little at the equation. "Elaborate."

"Megan and I had plans to attend a play this evening. We have the tickets already, but she just phoned. It seems that there is a crime scene requiring the team's attention."

Charlie nodded. "That tends to happen. FBI, and all that."

Larry came farther into the room and sat on the couch. "Quite. Anyway, as it was already almost 5 o'clock when she telephoned, she's quite certain that she will be unable to make curtain call. She suggested that I find someone else to accompany me, and I recalled your fondness for plays."

Charlie was noncommittal. "Mmm…"

Larry looked again at the tickets. "The play is 'The Seagull'. Are you familiar with it?"

Charlie stiffened and the Dry Erase marker hovered for a moment before he returned to his equation. "Yes, actually. I'm afraid that I am. Thank you, Larry, but I don't really like that play…"

"Oh, dear. You know that I don't really favor plays myself. If this isn't even one you would enjoy, perhaps I should give both tickets to someone else…I believe Dr. Trenton is still on campus…"

Charlie kept working. "If you'd like to go to dinner or something instead, Larry…"

Larry brightened. "Yes, I think I would, thank you. We haven't had an evening together in quite some time, you and I." He looked at the tickets one more time. "I'm sorry, I thought this playwright was one of your favorites. It's a Russian name, and I remembered your interest in a Russian playwright…forgive me, I just can't remember which one."

The Dry Erase marker paused again, and then Charlie continued his work. "Guess you're thinking of someone else," he said. "I'm not particularly fond of Chekhov."

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

FINIS

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A/N: "The Seagull" is an Anton Chekhov work (remember Charlie's memory, about how much he liked him?) exploring unrequited love. I recommend it for light summer reading.

Note to Silent Rumble: I tried to hurt Don, I honestly did.